Monday, December 15, 2008

The Inflation Indoctrination

Chart of U.S. Consumer Inflation (CPI)
The title of this post says it all. We consumers are so used to having inflation that without it we wouldn't know what to do without the price of the basic staples going up year after year. In 1974 gas was 53 cents a gallon, and a loaf of bread cost 28 cents. The national average salary was $14, 747 a year. Now, a loaf of bread is $3.80 and gas is (roughly) $2.00 a gallon.

With these numbers gas is about right, 4x the salary, and 4x the price of gas. It's the basic foodstuffs is where our money is going, the price of bread is about 13x as expensive, while the salary has only increased 4x! And I wonder where my disposable income went - I'm eating it.

I get a cost of living raise of 3% a year. Where I work you never get a performance raise - ever. I've personally saved the company millions of dollars of downtime, lawsuits, etc. and will never see a performance raise. But I'm in a recession-proof job. With the real inflation level 7% what the government is saying, no wonder I am having trouble making ends meet. In the next year or so I will be forced to leave just to get a raise so I can keep the house.

Part of this credit crunch is because many, many families were using their credit cards to make up the difference between their salaries and the inflated cost of living. I personally have friends that have a $300k mortgage and $62k in credit card debt. I'm at $260k and $476 myself...

Break the cycle. Learn what the real inflation rate is and bitch about it to your congressperson and other reps in state and federal government. Push to have the real numbers published, not the "cooked" ones. Keep your eye on the real number so you can plan your household finances accordingly.

1 comment:

Mayberry said...

This is a point that I try to get across to people, but they're just too brainwashed to see it.... I can see it just from my experience in life. When I was a kid back in the '70s, life was much better, regardless of the problems of the day. Now life is much harder, but artificially enriched with gobs of credit. We ain't in Kansas anymore, and it's only gonna get worse.....